The Bettersworth Law Firm

PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS! CALL NOW!

Call Us830-606-0404   888-392-0039

New Braunfels San Marcos San Antonio Sequin Austin
Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in filing a wrongful death claim

TX injury lawyerOne recent night, a serious three-car accident on the south side of San Antonio claimed the life of one person. A 33-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, about 30 minutes after the impact when his Dodge Challenger was T-boned by two cars in succession after he tried to cross Texas 16, near Mission Gate. The Challenger’s driver-side door was crushed, and the man had to be cut free before law enforcement could assess his injuries properly. While San Antonio police stated that no criminal charges are pending for either of the drivers who T-boned the man’s car, this does not mean that the man’s family may not choose to file suit against either (or both) drivers for wrongful death. If you lose a loved one in a similar accident, your options may seem very similar to the man’s family’s.

Two Types of Cases

Texas has two types of wrongful death-related actions. A standard wrongful death action is brought on behalf of the surviving family, seeking damages on the family’s behalf for injuries they have sustained since the deceased person’s passing. The surviving family can file, or the estate can file on the family’s behalf, seeking compensation for harm like funeral and medical expenses, loss of the deceased’s love and companionship, and the loss of support and services.

The other type of case is called a survival action, and it is brought to preserve a cause of action that a person might have had before their death. In other words, a survival action is a suit brought on behalf of the injured person (and their estate), trying to recover for damages that the person would have been able to recover had they survived the incident. For example, if the deceased man had survived his accident, he would likely have been able to file a personal injury lawsuit based on negligence - sadly, he did not, but his estate can file a survival action alleging the same things.

...

TX accident lawyerRecently, a man was killed when he tried to walk across US 281, forcing the highway’s closure between Nakoma Street and Bitters Road. The driver did stop at the scene and try to render aid, but the man was beyond help. If you are so unfortunate as to lose a loved one in that way, you may be able to file a suit for wrongful death against the driver - even if they did stop and attempt to render aid. No amount of money will bring your loved one back, but it can help to pay bills during the time you may need to get back on your feet.

A Duty of Care

Pedestrian accidents happen all too commonly in Texas, with over 8,100 being registered in 2018, yielding 693 fatalities. There are multiple causes for these crashes, including excessive speed, substance abuse, failing to yield properly, and a general lack of pedestrian-safe infrastructure like crosswalks and stoplights. Many of these are on display in the US 281 accident, most notably a lack of any place for a pedestrian to cross the street safely.

That said, a driver on the road has a duty to exercise reasonable care toward others on the road, and a failure to do so can open them up to liability. If they strike another motorist or a pedestrian, they may be sued for negligence or for wrongful death if the injured person does not survive. While there is no indication that the deceased pedestrian’s family intends to take any action against the driver, they could do so if they believed that the driver was negligent in causing the pedestrian’s passing.

...

TX accident lawyerRecently, a 73-year old woman was struck and killed in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Cedar Park, in what law enforcement called a slow-speed accident. No one else was injured, and no charges appear to be pending against the driver at this time. However, the woman’s family may decide to file wrongful death charges against them, if there is reason to believe that the driver’s actions were negligent.

You Must Act Fast

Not every sudden death in Texas can be classified as wrongful, or even every fatality that happens in an automobile accident. Wrongful death is defined in Texas as a death that occurs due to the “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness or default” of another person. In other words, a person has to have acted wrongly or with not even the barest level of care toward other people in order to be found liable for wrongful death. This is not an easy standard to meet, but it is very possible to do so.

Very often, it is difficult for a family to be able to process their loss. While this is, of course, understandable, it is important to also be aware that there is a specific window of time in which you are able to bring a wrongful death suit - in Texas, the limit is usually two years after the deceased person’s passing. The law sets the limit at two years because any longer would mean witness memories start to disappear, and evidence may become lost or decayed.

...

Posted on in Car Wrecks

TX bike accident lawyerRecently, a bicyclist was struck by a car near the intersection of Ben White Boulevard and Interstate Highway 35, sustaining “critical, life-threatening injuries” that later caused his passing in a nearby hospital. While law enforcement did not disclose details of the accident, implying that no criminal charges are pending for the driver, the possibility of a wrongful death lawsuit may still be on the proverbial table. A civil wrongful death suit will not, obviously, bring back a lost loved one, but it can help provide some financial stability while you and your family try to get back on your feet if you experience this type of tragic event.

Filing Suit

Not every death is wrongful, even if it occurs in an accident. Sometimes they simply happen, unfair as it may seem. However, if you believe that your loved one’s death occurred due to someone else’s careless or negligent conduct, filing a wrongful death lawsuit in civil court can be a way to try and at least get some closure. Texas law holds that a person can be found liable for someone’s passing, and the damages incurred from it if the death happened due to that person’s (or their agent’s) “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default.”

Be advised that only certain members of the decedent’s family, or the personal representative of their estate in some situations, may file a wrongful death suit in Texas. Generally, spouses, parents, and children by blood or completed adoption are the only survivors who are able to file - others like siblings or cousins are considered, rightly or wrongly, to have too remote a relationship to the deceased to be affected enough to warrant a filing.

...

TX crash lawyerThe day before her 28th birthday, Leslie Valderrama was killed when the driver of the car she was in rear-ended an SUV on Ben White Boulevard, near Montopolis Drive. She was airlifted to St. David’s South Austin Medical Center, but was pronounced deceased at approximately 3.30 AM on the morning of July 7. In this particular type of case, it can be difficult to determine who should be responsible for the family’s loss and suffering, but it is very possible that if the family of Ms. Valderrama brought suit for wrongful death, they would have a case that might prevail in court.

What Is Wrongful Death in Texas?

Texas law holds that someone can be found liable for wrongful death if the deceased’s passing was caused by their, or their agent’s, “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default.” While no amount of money can obviously eliminate the pain and loss you have suffered from your loved one’s passing, seeking monetary compensation can cushion the blow of losing their income and dealing with medical bills and funeral expenses. Prevailing at trial is difficult, but very far from impossible.

Some people may confuse wrongful death with murder, but there are important distinctions between the two. Murder is a criminal act, and a person must have had the deliberate intent to kill the person before they can be charged with their murder. Wrongful death is a civil tort, meaning that it is tried in civil court, with defendants who lose their cases usually being required to pay money damages, rather than in the criminal court, where jail time is the chosen punishment. If you have lost someone due to someone’s recklessness, a wrongful death suit may be appropriate; if you know that someone deliberately tried to kill your loved one, the police will likely charge them with murder.

...

The sooner you call, the sooner we can build your case, secure evidence and get maximum compensation for your injuries.

Texas Trial Lawyesr Association State Bar of Texas San Antonio Trial Lawyers Association
Back to Top